How to move-in without stressing out your pets
As you begin to pack, your dog or cat begins to stress, wondering why everything in their environment is suddenly changing. And while moving is stressful for human beings, it can be even more stressful for pets. After all, the tiny insular world your pet lives in is being deconstructed piece by piece.
To help your animals move into a new home, take these extra steps to make the transition easier for them. For the sake of brevity, this article is focused on cats and dogs. However, if you own an exotic pet you should check and make sure your amazing ferret or snapping turtle is legal wherever you plan to move.
Part of the Pack
Be sure to pack your pet’s stuff last. Keeping Fido in a familiar environment for as long as possible is best. It may concern him or her when your stuff begins to disappear, but if the doggie bed suddenly goes missing, Fido may panic. Once you’re in your new home, it’s a good idea to keep pets in one place until the rest of the house (or at least the furniture) has been assembled. Stress considerations aside, you don’t want a cat running between your legs when you’re carrying a 200 pound bedroom dresser. Once the heavy lifting is complete, unpack your pet’s things and create a safe and familiar space, then give Fluffy time to get used to the new environment. Let pets explore on their own time. Their new home is going to be filled with tons of new textures and smells your pet hasn’t encountered before, so give them time to get used to it.
Your pets are creatures of habit. Any major change will cause some stress, but keeping a familiar schedule helps take the edge off. If you changed time zones during your move, keep your pet’s feeding schedule the same for the first week before beginning to shift over to your current time. Acclimating your pets may be more difficult for dogs that are accustomed to regular walks. If possible, try to adjust your pet’s walking and feeding schedules gradually over time.
Animals have stronger olfactory senses than people do so with that mind another way to make your new place feel more like home is to keep familiar smells in the house. If the first thing you do in the morning is make coffee, it’s a good idea to have a cup when you first get in. Also avoid washing sheets and blankets for the first week or so in your new apartment, doing so can help your pet feel more at home by keeping the smell of your old place around for awhile.
Be sure to update your pet’s tags and microchips before you move. Times of stress and change are when pets are most likely to run away. If that happens, you will want to be sure that your pet’s microchip and collar have the new address. For those of you who still have landlines, it’s also a good idea to list your mobile number on your pet’s chip or tag, that way the number will remain current through the move.